Saturday, February 12, 2011

El Corozal & Alegría

Friday, 2-11-11

It’s been a full day. After breakfast we left at 8:30 to visit the canton of El Corozal to see the new church that’s being built. It was a little over an hour to reach the canton in the pickup truck. There were lots of interesting sites along the way. We saw a bunch of guys patching parts of the road where there were big holes. As usual, there were lots of cows and horses on the road. And because it’s the dry season the road was full of dust. Also, I have decided that Betty Dyer is good luck. I had never seen a torogoz until Betty pointed one out to us in San Salvador. Now, today in on the road, we saw two more!! They were flying so fast that we weren’t able to get a picture of them, but it was still cool to see them.

We arrived at Corozal a little after 9:30am. The part of the church that is done is absolutely beautiful. It will be wonderful to be able to see it when it’s finished. The community even saved the bell from their old church that was destroyed during the war to put in their new church. As we walked up to it we saw several men working to spread concrete over the rocks they’d laid on the rock foundation. They were mixing sand, cement, & water in the middle of the church, putting in a wheelbarrow, and then taking it to where they were working. We watched them work for a while and talked to them about how long it had taken them to get where they were (1 month thus far).

At one point Larry and Maurice went to where the men were filling up cántaros (large jugs) of water. They both filled up a jug and carried it to the work area. As you’ll see in the pictures below, it is hard work. The jugs hold about 5 gallons of water and most of the time people have to travel a long ways to get the water. Also, this is usually women’s work. Men do help carry water but most of the time it is women. We all got a kick out of the Larry & Maurice carrying the water, including the Salvadorans. After they’d carried the water Maurice went to where they had the cement and carried a bag to the work area. Those bags weigh 94 pounds! Later in the day when we were back in Berlín we saw a guy carrying two of those bags at once; that’s 188 pounds!!

In the back of the truck en route to El Corozal
(Linda is saying "moo")

Hombres trabajando
(Men working)

A cute little horse!

This horse got scared when our truck drove by

Herding cows through the dusty roads

The new church being built in El Corozal

Making concrete

Sand used for making concrete

Sleeping on the job

Doing women's work

Making concrete

94 pounds isn't that much, right?!

Climbing up on the church

We said goodbye to the work crew and went to visit one of the families in the area. It was only a short walk but we got dusty in a hurry. We passed by a little cemetery along the way. Blanca told me it was used during the Civil War to bury the dead and it is still being used today. Parts of it were overgrown but many of the graves were decorated.

We arrived at Wilma & David’s house around 10:15am. They have a huge tree in the front part of their property with several hammocks hanging in them. We all immediately flocked to the hammocks. It was very relaxing and much cooler laying in the shade. Wilma greeted us all and brought out an extra hammock to hang in the tree. We all lounged around and chatted for a while. At some point I fell asleep and when I woke up it was 11:30am. I decided it was time to get out of the hammock and walk around a bit.

I went to take pictures of flowers and animals. I said hi to the cows and pet (petted?) one of the horses. They have papaya trees and also marañon trees. Marañon trees are the ones that produce cashew nuts. They have a sweet fruit attached to the shell where they nuts are found. The shell is actually slightly toxic and could do damage if you ate it. You have to roast the nut in the shell to be able to take the shell off and eat the nut. The fruit by the nut, which is actually a false fruit, is delicious and many people use it to make juice.

Then I went inside to talk to Wilma, Cecilia, & Blanca. Earlier in the day, as soon as Wilma had heard that we were coming, she decided to make us lunch. She was making tortillas, beans, chicken, and spaghetti pasta. She gave Elizabeth and I some of the dough she was using to make tortillas so we could feed the chickens. After she’d finished making the tortillas it was time for lunch. Everything was delicious. I ended up with some chicken ribs and heart on my plate but didn’t really want it so Betty took it off my hands. I’m glad someone could enjoy it!

A young girl was waiting for us to finish our lunch so she could sell us all some frozen, chocolate covered bananas. We all bought one from her. Kathy asked her a little bit about her family and found out that she was 20 years old with three kids, the youngest of who was 6. It’s not uncommon for women to have children when they are young. She is also married which doesn’t always happen when young girls get pregnant. I was glad we could help her out a bit.

We hugged Wilma and David goodbye and headed to another person’s house for a quick hello. Catarina greeted us with a big hug and pulled over a couple benches for us to sit on. We talked a little bit and somewhere in the conversation we began talking about mangos. Catarina has some mango trees and wanted to take us to a tree to get us some mangos. She has a very long stick that she uses to get the mangos down from the tree. Soon it seemed as though mangos were falling from the sky. We told her that we had plenty but she just kept pulling them down. Soon we had about 30 mangos. We all scooped them up and headed back to her house. Hugs and goodbyes were in store for Catarina and we were on our way back to Berlín by 1:45pm.

Cows coming through

Cemetery in the canton

Hard at work

Hola Denise!

Betty taking a rest

Peace, Maurice!


Baby papayas


A sweet, little horse

Inside and outside toilet


Making lunch

The chickens loved their food


Pretty flowers

What lovely flowers!
Oh wait, they're fake.

Lunch is served

Adiós, Wilma and David!

Chocolate covered bananas for sale

Catarina picking mangos

Mangos anyone?

We arrived at the Pastoral House at 2:45pm and had just enough time for a quick siesta and then were headed to the lagoon in Alegría. The lagoon is inside of a dormant volcano and the water in the lagoon is green. The water level is much higher than it normally is so most of the way we walked on the road that goes around the lagoon. It was a wonderful walk. At one point we came to an area that the ladies of the Pastoral House pointed out to us. Bubbles were rising up through the water from the ground and the water was incredibly hot; so hot that you wouldn’t even want to take a bath in it. It was like a mini Yellowstone.

At one point we can to an area where I could have sworn I heard bees. I asked Larry if he heard the buzzing too. He did, but we couldn’t see where the noise was coming from. Jokes were later made that the noise wasn’t actually bees, but was made by flies that were holding little “bee-prods” that they used to herd the bees. Bzzzzzzzz!

We had finished walking around the lagoon by 5:00 and hopped back in the truck. On the way back to Berlín we picked up a guy alongside the road named Marc Antony. After telling us his name he quickly told us that he was not the singer. We passed a coffee farm (finca) that still had coffee beans on the bushes. It is one of the last fincas to harvest the beans. Maurice got a couple great pictures of the beans since he’s one of the co-coffee coordinators. We made it back by 5:30, just in time for dinner. We dined on pupusas and dried plantains.

It began to rain when dinner was over which is a rare occurrence during the dry season. Contrary to what Larry had told Maurice before coming on the trip that he wouldn’t be seeing any clouds when they were in El Salvador, there were many clouds in the sky. Kathy, Maurice, Denise, and I decided to take advantage of the rain to wash the dust from the truck. Kathy drove the truck outside into the rain and we went outside with rags to wash the dust off the truck. We got more than a bit wet but the truck looks shiny and new.

The rest of the night was spent working on the care packages that the folks at Trinity have created for their sister community of Casa de Zinc. We also spent more time working on our Ferreteria A-Z list. Keep your eyes out for that list; I’ll be posting it soon.

The lagoon in Alegría

The water level rose and left sulfur all over the rocks and trees

Some sort of parasite plant growing on the tree

Idalia & Blanca lead the way

Checking out the hot spots

Hot, hot, hot

Too hot for me

Beautiful view

This water isn't hot

It's a bird!

The moon through the trees

A rainbow!

Coffee bushes

The red ones are ripe

Up close coffee beans (called coffee cherries)

The green ones are not ripe yet

Time to divvy up the medication

Counting out Benadryl

I'll take a Tums, please

Counting pills is so much fun


Kevin Pokorny said...

I loved the outhouse picture. The dust looked awful. How do you stay clean?

Matt said...

Wow, what a great day with all the fruit and animals. I love the pics of the coffee beans. They look just like grapes. I also like the picture of the Marañon fruit because you can see the little cashew "nut" on the bottom. It's so weird that we in the US eat the nut but not the fruit.